Sin and Humanity Essay
In most novels, old and new, a few general themes can be interpreted. The Scarlet Letter is a novel filled with many contrasting themes. The most prominent theme in the book is that of the many sides of sin. Through the book it is shown that sin is inescapable, un-confessed sin destroys souls, and that there can be different types of sin. Although there are many more themes in The Scarlet Letter, these are most prominent.Order now
When stripped to basics there are only two reasons for sin. Love and Hate. These are the only two reasons sin is committed. Although these are rather broad feelings in the spectrum of human emotion, these two emotions seem to control all others. In The Scarlet Letter, this idea of sin is made clear. Sin is portrayed by love and hate.
For instance, one of the major parts of the plot is the fact that Hester and Dimmesdale commit ery. This sin wasn’t about hate. It was purely about love. Although this sin is one of love, it doesn’t seem to be and easier to bear by the couple. Another sin of love is the defiance of an entire religion for someone you love. Dimmesdale shows this as he confesses in front of the town.
Along with the sin of ery, the book shows a great example of a sin of hate. Chillingworth seems to embody this sin. He is even referred to as the black man (devil). As if a reference to the Devil was bad enough, he was described as having a “crooked” hunch. Which only translates to his “Crooked” soul. Over the course of the book, Chillingworth, Hester’s long lost husband, seeks revenge on the man who had sinned with Hester.
His anger and jealousy are purely driven by hate.
The Scarlet Letter teaches another lesson about sin in one of its themes. It shows that sin is inescapable. The novel has a few examples to let the reader know this. One example is Pearl herself. Pearl is the embodiment of Hester and Dimmesdale’s sin.
Hester felt that she couldn’t let Pearl leave her sight. She also felt that although everything was stripped away from her, she still had her little to love. This shows how “sin” is something that Hester has learned to embrace instead of shunning. Another example that Hawthorn puts in the book is when Hester and Dimmesdale try to escape from Chillingworth. They even try to go across the Atlantic so that they can live in peace but they find out that Chillingworth knows and is after them.
The third and most prevalent theme is that un-confessed sin destroys ones soul.
There are many examples of how sin can be destructive. One of which is how Chillingworth deals with his obsession for revenge. In the end it is his hate and rage that kills. This example shows that not only can sin destroy your soul, but can also harm you physically. Another great example is how Hester’s appearance seems to go from absolutely gorgeous to ugly and plain. The sin that has been trapped inside of her has changed her physical being as well as her spiritual one.
Yet another perfect example of how sin destroys is how Dimmesdale gets very ill while he is under the care Chillingworth. He cannot confess to his because of the terrible things he thinks will happen.
It is very clear that The Scarlet Letter is filled with forms and lessons of and about sin. It shows how all sins branch from love or hate. It also has some great examples that prove that sin cannot be escaped no matter what one does. And finally Hawthorn shows us that in order to preserve our souls we must be able to confess our sins.
If we don’t confess, we will decay from the inside out.**